In our previous blog post we discussed following your instincts and getting to know the artists. Here are more tips on visiting galleries and talking to the artists.
Is it OK to negotiate with the artist? The answer is absolutely yes, but only with respect for the artist and the work they do. It is never wrong to ask if discounts are given, but continued haggling can be very insulting. Until you take up painting or another artform, you cannot begin to image the time spent, not to mention the high cost of materials. You might offend if you use pressure tactics trying to get a lower price so broach this question carefully and respectfully. The answer will be either yes or no, and respect this. It is good to remember that art making is a business too, just like any other with lots of expenses, such as rent, advertising, bookkeeping and many other things, and all this goes into the price of the art work.
Any artist who is professional will not do what some call “trading up”. This practice is for cars and manufactured items, not original works unless the piece you purchased has risen greatly in value based on auction history. So, know that sales are final when you make your choices.
The art market has been flooded with reproductions in the past decade. Know when you are getting an original work or a work printed out on an inkjet type printer. Most commonly reproductions are called Giclee prints. The intrinsic value of these reproductions is very low, but it may be a way to get a facsimile of a work you like at an affordable price. Just know what you are getting. I always urge collectors to choose original art, even if this limits the size of work they can collect. If you have heard of Herb and Dorothy Vogel, you can see a lifetime of collecting small works and studies can result in an astonishing collection!
But do not mistake an original print for a reproduction. A print is a handmade one of a kind artwork. Unfortunately this term has been misused causing confusion as to what you are getting. Please ask if something called a print is actually a reproduction or an original work.
What if you find a piece that costs a tad more than you can spend? If you cannot put it on a credit card, ask if the artist or gallery does layaway. Many artists and galleries are happy to help you acquire the pieces you love with monthly payments. Be sure to make your payments on time as agreed upon! If you become a patron of a particular artist, you will often be given a discount for future purchases as a show of appreciation for your support and allowed to purchase additional pieces on a payment plan.
Most importantly, Do not doubt your tastes. You will know what you like and you do not need validation from anyone else. You are the one who will live with the artwork! And your collection will no doubt grow. Over time your tastes and interests might change too and your collection may move in a different direction. What will you do with all the work if you run out of space and wish to continue collecting? Giving art as gifts, donating to important auctions for charitable causes can be a wonderful way to make room for new works. Museums may appreciate a gift of a work by a well-known artist too. While artists can only get a tax deduction for materials used, the collector can get deductions for the entire cost of the work. Keep all documentation about your purchases, ask for a certificate of authenticity, keep receipts and all artists materials such as resumes, cards, brochures and articles to document each work in your collection. (310 ART always supplies an artist packet with major purchases, and is always happy to give you a resume, bio, certificate for small works too.)
If you wish to support to a favorite charity, support the artist also, by purchasing their work, and making a donation of art to the fundraiser. By doing this you support both the charity of your choice, and the artist who is creating a legacy for all of us.
In future blog posts you will find tips for collectors, discussions on subjects about art and tips for emerging artists from professionals! Please subscribe to be notified of new articles.
Fleta Monaghan is founder and director of 310 ART in the River Arts District of Asheville, NC.